Advisers have shaped the OA into a second century

By Kyle Hoffmann

As the OA looks to its second century of service, many are pausing to think about the people who have had a big impact on their time as youth leaders: advisers. Much of the OA’s growth and success can be attributed to the hard work of the organization’s youth leadership over the years; however, as in any theatrical production, the work that occurs behind the curtain is integral to making the show a success. The men and women behind the curtain, the adult advisers of the Order of the Arrow, have played a crucial role in shaping and strengthening the OA over the past century. Advisers, from the chapter and committee levels, all the way up through the national chairman, have guided and mentored the youth that drive this organization. All across the country, youth Arrowmen attest that their advisers have helped them grow not only as Scouts, but as people.

2015 Western Region Chief Nathan Lee, from the Chief Seattle Council and T’Kope KwisKwis Lodge, has learned from some of the most seasoned Arrowmen in the history of the Order of the Arrow. He was one of the newer lodge members in attendance when he heard a speech from Del Loder. Del Loder is only one of five Arrowmen to have received the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to recognize those who have continued to build the Order in the footsteps of Goodman and Edson. Being able to listen to and talk to this man, who in fact was once the lodge adviser for T’Kope KwisKwis, was, for Lee, “seeing a living time capsule.” Lee noted that Loder’s speech, “had a profound effect on my understanding of the OA and the Boy Scouts and what we’re all about.”

Lee’s experience with advisers from the chapter level, all the way up through the regional level has given him a unique perspective on the role of advisers in the Order of the Arrow. His advisers have taught him how to manage his time, plan events and communicate effectively. One adviser that has had a large impact in his development as an Arrowman was his section adviser, Rob Rosamond. While Lee was chief of Section W-1N, he talked frequently with Rosamond, and their relationship turned from “an adviser-chief one to a mentor-mentee one.” Establishing a bond with his advisers is important to Lee, as it has allowed him to become an effective leader from being a chapter chief through his service as region chief.

Just like in the Western Region, in the Northeast Region, Donnie Stephens, the 2015 national vice chief from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council and Lowwapaneu Lodge, has had similar experiences with his advisers. At his council camp where he worked for five summers, camp director and Lowwapaneu Staff Adviser Dave Srebro shared stories with Stephens about his experience in Scouting. Srebro helped to shape Stephens’s views on the Order, reminding him that it was an integral part of Scouting. Last August, he took these views to the national stage, expounding on the importance of the Order of the Arrow in his keynote address at the NOAC Monday night show.

In working with advisers from every level of the Order, Stephens has noticed a common theme. “Even though they are different, and wear different colored shoulder loops, they all serve the same purpose.” What is their purpose? To teach, guide and motivate youth leaders. They have been doing this for the past one hundred years, but to Stephens, even now, “it is incredible when an adult can inspire a youth.” Moving into our second century of service, “that will continue to be important into 2016 and beyond,” said Stephens.

Our adult advisers, just like the youth, have put in one hundred years of service to this organization. Next time you see an adviser of yours, be sure to thank him or her!

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